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New York Times, Saturday, September 5, 2015

Author: Byron Walden
Editor: Will Shortz
Byron Walden
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
8311/23/200112/10/201611
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701192567
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59321

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 29 Missing: {QVWXZ} This is puzzle # 76 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes: This puzzle started out with BOBBY RIGGS. I trust that a lot of solvers will look at the clue and wonder how it could be someone ... more
Byron Walden notes:

This puzzle started out with BOBBY RIGGS. I trust that a lot of solvers will look at the clue and wonder how it could be someone they've heard of. My other favorite trivia tidbit in the puzzle is in the KOALAS clue. It could be the basis of a fanciful whodunit.

Jeff Chen notes: Byron puts on a show today, giving us a huge number of long entries — 26 slots that are 7+ letters long. So much potential for ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Byron puts on a show today, giving us a huge number of long entries — 26 slots that are 7+ letters long. So much potential for colorful material, and Byron converts many of those slots into good stuff.

Mason and Street, on the case

Today's might be the very definition of a Saturday puzzle, the beast that is meant to be the toughest puzzle of the week. (I couldn't finish it without a few times of hitting "check errors," of which I had many.) Let's go through a few categories that make up the difficulty:

Tough proper nouns. It could easily be my 1.) West Coast upbringing and my 2.) fourth-grade knowledge of geography, but ONONDAGA was a mystery. OREL RUSSIA too. I happen to love RY COODER and "Buena Vista Social Club" but that'll be rough on many too.

Vague clues. IDAHOS usually gets some sort of [Many potatoes] kind of clue, but today, the solver is expected to figure out that 1.) "hash" means breakfast hash, and 2.) the clue is looking for a specific type of potato. Toughie! And for [Open ___], I tried open MIC, Open ERA, open BAR, open AIR, open NET, open SEA …

Deviously wacky wordplay. Typically [Script ending] gets a telltale question mark, a dead giveaway that the answer is a suffix (URE). No question mark today!

Deep trivia. I vaguely know Perry Mason — not that I'd recognize him in a lineup, but I know the name. So far so good! Now, the question mark in [Street boss?] tells me that something tricky is happening. But it took Googling to figure out that PERRY MASON apparently has a secretary named Della Street. That's going to be rough on many solvers my generation and younger.

I love what Byron brings to the crossworld, a style that introduces crazy new wide-open grid patterns and so much new vocabulary. A majority of his long stuff is Shortz-era debut material — an amazing 12 entries! Now, some of it is a bit odd to my ear, like CREEPIES and IDEAL MAN, but that's Byron's style; not afraid to push the boundaries.

1
H
2
O
3
P
4
O
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N
6
P
7
O
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P
9
K
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O
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A
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L
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A
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S
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M
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B
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B
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A
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P
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C
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Y
30
O
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H
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B
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F
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B
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C
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H
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G
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D
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 24,042
Across Down
1. Book whose last line is "Ask me tomorrow but not today" : HOPONPOP
9. Non-primates with remarkably humanlike fingerprints : KOALAS
15. Springsteen hit between "Born in the U.S.A." and "Glory Days" : IMONFIRE
16. Pressing : URGENT
17. What boxers use to "shake hands" : FORELEGS
18. Sight that's not sound : MIRAGE
19. "Positively Entertaining" channel : ION
20. Black : JET
21. Bribe money : BOODLE
22. Mr. Right : IDEALMAN
25. North title: Abbr. : COL
26. Pool house? : BAPTISTERY
29. See 43-Down : COPY
30. Turgenev's birthplace : ORELRUSSIA
31. Funny ___ : HAHA
32. He played himself in "Broadway Danny Rose" and "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" : BERLE
33. With 47-Across, 1978 Covert Bailey best seller on exercise and diet : FITOR
34. "With ___ at the South Pole," first documentary to win an Oscar (for cinematography) : BYRD
35. Halted : PUTTOANEND
40. Vacillate : YOYO
41. Wrong numbers? : ERRORCODES
42. Virgin Islands export : RUM
43. Spiders and such, slangily : CREEPIES
44. Certain hash ingredients : IDAHOS
46. Datebook abbr. : MON
47. See 33-Across : FAT
50. What Beyoncé decided to do in 2002 : GOSOLO
51. Upstate New York tribe : ONONDAGA
54. Part of a sundial that casts a shadow : GNOMON
55. Guitar virtuoso whose name is an anagram of YO' RECORD : RYCOODER
56. Hidalgo honorific : SENORA
57. Requirement that hybrid cars may be exempted from : SMOGTEST
1. Place for a '55 45, say : HIFI
2. Classic novel whose title means "wanderer" : OMOO
3. Subject of a certain addiction : PORN
4. Word before and after "to," "on" or "for" : ONE
5. "The ___ Today" : NFL
6. Much-performed aria from Fauré's "Requiem" : PIEJESU
7. Almond syrups used in cocktails : ORGEATS
8. Grinders : PESTLES
9. Treacly spirit of unity : KUMBAYA
10. Sirius' master, in myth : ORION
11. Farm-related prefix : AGRO
12. Like some copper gutters : LEADCOATED
13. Like Grenada, but not Granada : ANGLOPHONE
14. Old Pittsburgh work areas : STEELYARDS
22. "That's O.K., I guess" : ITLLDO
23. Critical : DIRE
24. Open ___ : MRI
26. 1939 Wimbledon men's champion : BOBBYRIGGS
27. Response to a ranter : AREYOUDONE
28. Street boss? : PERRYMASON
29. Casual Friday option : CHINOS
33. Turn toward : FACE
35. Borat or Ali G, to Sacha Baron Cohen : PERSONA
36. Script ending : URE
37. Mercury poisoning symptoms : TREMORS
38. Place name : TOPONYM
39. Home to 15-foot-long crocodiles : ORINOCO
43. With 29-Across, pricier option at a print shop : COLOR
45. Our kind of people? : HOMO
47. Tapering hairdo : FADE
48. Seemingly forever : AGES
49. Biting : TART
52. Seasonal quaff : NOG
53. What's the point? : DOT

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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